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Gas exchanges and water use efficiency in the selection of tomato geno-types tolerant to water stress.

Author(s): M.E.A. Borba, G.M. Maciel, E.F. Fraga Junior, C.S. Machado Junior,G.R. Marquez, I.G. Silva and R.S. Almeida

Water stress can affect the yield in tomato crops and, despite this, there are few types of research aiming to select tomato genotypes resistant to the water stress using physiological parameters. This experiment aimed to study the variables that are related to the gas exchanges and the efficiency in water use, in the selection of tomato genotypes tolerant to water stress. It was done in a greenhouse, measuring 7 x 21 m, in a randomized complete block design, with four replications (blocks), being five genotypes in the F2BC1 generation, which were previously obtained from an interspecific cross between Solanum pennellii versus S. lycopersicum and three check treatments, two susceptible [UFU-22 (pre-commercial line) and cultivar Santa Clara] and one resistant (S. pennellii). At the beginning of flowering, the plants were submitted to a water stress condition, through irrigation suspension. After that CO2 assimilation, internal CO2, stomatal conductance, transpiration, leaf temperature, instantaneous water use efficiency, intrinsic efficiency of water use, instantaneous carboxylation efficiency, chlorophyll a and b, and the potential leaf water (Ψf) were observed. Almost all variables that were analyzed, except CO2 assimilation and instantaneous carboxylation efficiency, demonstrated the superiority of the wild accession, S. pennellii, concerning the susceptible check treatments. The high photosynthetic rate and the low stomatal conductance and transpiration, presented by the UFU22/F2BC1#2 population, allowed a better water use efficiency. Because of that, these physiological characteristics are promising in the selection of tomato genotypes tolerant to water stress.